rafa benitez

Rafa Benitez denies issues with Cristiano Ronaldo in aftermath of El Clasico loss

It’s never good when your team president has to come out and publicly back you as a manager or coach, doubly not-so-good when cracks appear in the relationship between star player and manager.

Yet, that’s exactly what has happened in the aftermath of Real Madrid’s 4-0 defeat at home to arch-rival Barcelona.

Rafa Benitez, the first-year manager of his boyhood club, got the public backing of club president Florentino Perez, but the bigger issue may be a rift between the manager and star player Cristiano Ronaldo. Spanish paper AS first reported that Ronaldo gave the club the old “him or me” routine, insisting the club keeps him and dumps the manager or transfer him away from the club.

It’s a report that Benitez denies steadfastly though, stating there is no issue between one of the world’s best players and himself.

Benitez has come under pressure as of late thanks to a two-match losing streak, all despite a 14-game unbeaten start to the season and having already qualified for the UEFA Champions League round of 16.

Naturally, the English tabloids began dreaming of Ronaldo moving to England and reuniting with former club Manchester United. They even went as far as picking Gareth Bale for a return from sunny Spain.

It’s all a crazy atmosphere at a club that has seen itself get undone by arch-rival Barcelona on the national and international stage in recent years. Barca has won four Champions League titles in the past decade, while Los Blancos have picked up just one (2013-14) in that time frame.

The Catalonian club have also picked up six championships since the 2005-06 season and Real Madrid have just one set of back-to-back titles in the past decade to speak of.

Without better results, Benitez and the players may have more troubles than personal in-fighting or anything else to worry about.


About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!